Nieman Journalism Lab: Google developing micropayment system in pitch to newspapers

Google has announced plans for a micropayment system that would be available to both Google services and non-Google properties within the next year.

The outline of the system is given in a document submitted to the Newspaper Association of America (NAA).

“Google believes that an open web benefits all users and publishers. However, ‘open’ need not mean free. We believe that content on the internet can thrive supported by multiple business models – including content available only via subscription. While we believe that advertising will likely remain the main source of revenue for most news content, a paid model can serve as an important source of additional revenue. In addition, a successful paid content model can enhance advertising opportunities, rather than replace them,” said the search company in the document, which looks at how Google’s expertise could help the newspaper industry.

The paper discusses the problems of introducing a paid content model, but suggests a micropayment system – built as a development of its existing Google Checkout product – could work for the news industry.

Here’s how it would look as written in the document:

• Single sign-on capability for users to access content and manage subscriptions;
• Ability for publishers to combine subscriptions from different titles together for one price;
• Ability for publishers to create multiple payment options and easily include/exclude content behind a paywall;
• Multiple tiers of access to search including 1) snippets only with ‘subscription’ label; 2) access to preview pages; and 3) ‘first click free’ access;
• Advertising systems that offer highly relevant ads for users, such as interest-based advertising.

“Google already works with a number of premium content providers in a manner similar to the vision above. Combining our e-commerce system with our search capability and advertising platform will allow for even more flexibility for publishers and users alike,” explains the document.

The search firm also suggests the potential for more money for publishers from syndication using Google’s existing technology for both better distribution and advertising around syndicated content.

Full report at this link…

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